Scotland pushes button on £1m digital device fund

The Scottish government has launched a £1m fund to provide around 1,400 care homes with digital devices to connect those receiving care with their loved ones.

Holyrood said the fund will enable all care homes in Scotland to access iPads to help care home residents stay connected with friends and relatives, and support the clinical management of health conditions remotely.

All care homes will be able to apply for up to two iPads to support their residents through combined Scottish government funding from its Connecting Scotland programme, which has committed £500,000 to the initiative, on top of the £500,000 allocated in the Adult Social Care Winter Preparedness plan.

“Digital devices can never replace human interaction and we continue both to actively review what more we can do to support visiting with input from family members, carers, and clinicians and finalise our plans for routine designated visitor testing,” said Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.

“But the pandemic has shown us that digital technology can help keep us in touch with our loved ones and provide vital access to healthcare through services such as NearMe for video consultations,” she added.

Isla Cowe, acting care home manager at Allachburn care home in Aboyne added: “Having the Near Me technology has proved so useful in reducing the number of people who need to visit whilst still being able to provide the same level of service that our residents and their families would expect.

“We recently had a consultation using this technology with the Speech and Language Therapy team, and were able to change the course of action to be taken for this particular gentleman which has proved immensely beneficial to the care that we deliver to him.”